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Race of Champions canceled due to political unrest in Bangkok

Dec 2, 2013, 9:18 AM EDT

Driver Schumacher from Team Germany speaks with compatriot Vettel at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok Reuters

There’s not much racing that goes on in December anyway, but the all-star “Race of Champions” match race event featuring drivers from around the world competing in five or six different types of machinery is usually a sure thing.

Except in 2013, as the event has been canceled. The ROC was set to take place in Bangkok, Thailand but will not occur due to political unrest in the country.

The ROC occurred in Bangkok last year without a hitch, marking the 25th consecutive year the event took place. But now event organizers will need to seek other options for resuscitating the event for 2014.

Lotus Formula One driver Romain Grosjean was the “Champion of Champions” in 2012 with fellow Frenchman Sebastien Ogier of WRC fame – the younger Sebastien compared to nine-time consecutive champion Sebastien Loeb – scoring the overall title in 2011.

Germany captured the ROC Nation’s Cup last year with the most successful duo of Formula One World Champions, seven-time champ Michael Schumacher and now-four-time champ Sebastian Vettel.

The 12 drivers announced thus far for 2013 included Schumacher, Ogier, Tom Kristensen (Le Mans/FIA World Endurance Championship), David Coulthard (ex-F1), Narain Karthikeyan (ex-F1), Karun Chandhok (ex-F1), Jamie Whincup (Australian V8 Supercars), Susie Wolff (Williams F1 reserve), Mattias Ekstrom (DTM), Fabio Leimer (GP2), Mick Doohan (MotoGP), and most recently, Red Bull’s base diving hero Felix Baumgartner.

They’d all compete head-to-head in matches that include the Audi R8 LMS, VW Scirocco Cup, Ariel Atom Cup, Toyota GT86, an ROC Buggy and the KTM X-Bow. A NASCAR stock car was removed from the machinery list for this year.

  1. testover6370 - Dec 2, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    I never understood why ROC wasn’t run in a country with an actual motorsports culture. The entry list is also pretty uneven. I get that the Indian drivers are the most successful from their country even if they aren’t champions, but Susie Wolff, besides being very much not a champion, isn’t exactly a standout for her country either. And despite the US having three national professional sports car series, Indycar, and even NASCAR, we often get lumped into a generic “Team Americas”.

    • redrock81 - Dec 2, 2013 at 6:39 PM

      The ROC has run in Germany, France and a few other places. But I have to agree. The quality of the driver line ups seem to have diminished this year.

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